At least 30 people have been injured in an explosion that ripped through a building full of small shops in the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi, media reports citing officials said Monday.
The explosion reportedly occurred at a shopping complex on Moi Avenue in downtown Nairobi at about lunchtime on Monday. The blast caused substantial damages to the building and some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.
Police officials initially blamed the explosion on an electrical fault and ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack citing lack of shrapnel at the scene. But they have since launched an investigation to determine whether the explosion was caused by a bomb.
Nevertheless, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who visited the site, blamed terrorism for the explosion, saying: "This is terrorism... this is a heinous act, we are under threat, but we will not be cowed."
Kenyan cities and towns have witnessed several such explosions as well as hit-and-run grenade attacks in recent months. Most of them have since been blamed on al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group based in neighboring Somalia.
Al-Shabaab is Somalia's most prominent and influential Islamist militant unit, and is branded a terrorist organization by the United States and most of the international community. The al-Qaeda aligned outfit is the military wing of the Islamist movement ousted by Ethiopia-backed Somali forces in 2006.
Kenyan troops are currently in Somalia as part of a cross-border operation aimed at driving al-Shabaab militants away from the border separating the two nations. Since their arrival in Somalia last year, Kenyan forces have managed to capture several al-Shabaab strongholds, but the militant group has retaliated with several terror attacks inside Kenya.
by RTT Staff Writer
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